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UGent (Flanders) ranks 5th in EU tech scale-ups ranking

UGent, one of Flanders’ leading universities, has been generating a continuous output of digital spin-offs for years, including the likes of Molecubes, Morrow, Indigo Diabetes, FEops, Pozyx Labs, Sentea, Antelope DX and many others. The output has been so strong, in fact, that the university comes in at 5th place in Omar Mohout’s European ranking of tech scale-ups.

5th out of 200

A former tech entrepreneur, an acclaimed technology author and an advisor to high-growth start-ups and Fortune 500 companies, Omar Mohout is an entrepreneurship fellow at technology center Sirris as well as affiliated as professor of entrepreneurship at Antwerp Management School. Since 2013, Mohout has been ranking European tech scale-ups that raise capital and started out as spin-offs of just under 200 universities and knowledge institutions.

Based on data covering over 10,000 European scale-ups, UGent (Flanders) comes in at 5th place in the ranking, after big names such as Cambridge University, ETH Zurich, Oxford University and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology of Lausanne.

This ranking is no coincidence, but the result of UGent’s clear strategy to focus on the valorization of research.

Omar Mohout
entrepreneurship fellow at Sirris

Strong spin-offs

“This result shows how UGent, thanks to Interface and IOF funding, among other mechanisms, has been able to generate strong spin-offs over the past 15 years – and how these companies thrive and grow into successful scale-ups within Ghent’s business ecosystem,” points out Wim Van Camp, general manager at UGent TechTransfer. The local madtech (marketing technology) scene provides just one telling example of the ecosystem’s success.

Through our unique valorization structure within the UGent Association, we will continue to support, sensitize and motivate researchers in the coming years to get more out of their research.

Wim Van Camp
general manager at UGent TechTransfer

The importance of an ecosystem

“Of course, the environment in which spin-offs thrive also plays a crucial role,” emphasizes Omar Mohout. “Start-ups are popping up all over the place, so to speak. The majority, however, disappear as quickly as they appeared. Some remain active on a small scale, while only a minority continue to grow, both organizationally and financially, and raise growth capital to support their upscaling.”

As a start-up company, you need a strong ecosystem that supports you, finances you, organizes training and events, etc.

Omar Mohout
entrepreneurship fellow at Sirris

“Ghent is a good example of an ecosystem that has grown in a bottom-up way through the entrepreneurs themselves. For example, Ghent firm Netlog brought forth a whole generation of ambitious tech entrepreneurs. Up to 50 companies have emerged from this dynamic, including the founders of Showpad. The interaction between the city of Ghent and its university further strengthens this ecosystem.”

Exciting years ahead

Moreover, “since 2010, there’s been a quantum leap in the number of spin-offs growing into scale-ups, in part due to smoother access to open source software, cloud infrastructure, apps and powerful programming languages,” Mohout adds. “This stimulates and democratizes the process of innovation.” 

The next few years will be exciting in scale-up land. To researchers everywhere: ‘Get out of the research building! Valorize your research, listen to the needs of the market and society, and look for ways to respond to them in your research’.

Omar Mohout
entrepreneurship fellow at Sirris

“A few years back,” he continuous, many people thought that technologies such as blockchain and virtual reality would be the biggest game changers. However, today we see that AI is really breaking through. While AI is still in its early days, the valorization of photonics and smart materials through spin-offs is starting to gain traction – and UGent has the necessary credentials in these domains!”

More info

Scaleup Vlaanderen
Reported by
website Bloovi
11 February 2021

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